(LoanSafe.org) – Mortgage fraud is a two-sided crime that can be committed by either party, whether it be a regular person (borrower or broker) or by the lending institution itself. While we see the majority of mortgage fraud cases occur through individuals, due to lack of mortgage protection laws in the past, there are predatory lenders out there who have made billions of dollars off swindling borrowers.

Don’t fall prey to predatory lenders or a broker looking to make a quick buck. Even if you feel that you are being treated unfairly through lawful practices, a second guess may enable you to find out that you are being attacked by your lender. Predatory lending practices include aggressive phone harassment, offering one thing and actually delivering another (i.e. bait and switch tactics), and forcing a customer into an agreement to which he or she has not completely agreed.

Many homeowners are finding themselves in a position where they need to explore options to avoid foreclosure. While the government has outlined practices and procedures for mortgage lenders to follow when a borrower is experiencing a financial hardship, some lenders simply refuse to provide the assistance the borrower needs to become current and will let the foreclosure process run its course.

If you’ve fallen victim to a predatory lending scheme or feel your lender may be committing a fraudulent act, don’t hesitate to file a complaint with one or more of the “consumer reporting” agencies.

How to report mortgage fraud activity:

– What type of fraud occurred? First off, determine the type of fraud you are enduring, whether it be predatory lending, identity theft, falsification of documents, etc. If you don’t know what has been done to you, you’ll have nothing to report to a local/national law enforcement agency. Borrowers who are having a hard time analyzing this information on their own can consult a trusted professional. HUD certified counselors are free to talk to, and are a good place to start getting information on mortgage fraud and consumer mortgage protection.

– Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Fraud. For complaints regarding the origination, underwriting, or appraisals of FHA loans, contact the FHA Resource Center.

– Non-FHA Fraud . For complaints regarding loan disclosures, interest rates and finance charges (APR), home insurance, deception, etc. contact the appropriate “mortgage fraud reporting” agency found here.

– Foreclosure Fraud. If your lender has wrongfully initiated foreclosure proceedings and/or refuses to abide by “foreclosure prevention” guidelines issued by the government, contact a local HUD-housing agency immediately as well as your state Attorney General’s office.
– Appraisal Fraud. To report suspected appraisal fraud contact your state’s real estate or appraisal licensing board. Through these agencies, you can report appraisal falsification, illegal broker fees, fraudulent comparable properties used in an appraisal report, and conspiracy between appraisers and/or real estate agents and lenders.

– Bank Fraud. Report your fraud case to the Office of Comptroller of Currency. Complaints can be filed at http://www.occ.treas.gov/customer.htm. Their number is (800) 613-6743. Over 2,500 national banks are regulated by the OCC.

– Credit Union Fraud. Borrowers who are having trouble with credit unions can seek assistance from the National Credit Union Association .

– Contact the Better Business Bureau. The BBB not only works to resolve complaints, they also work to prevent bad businesses from conducting operations. Due to the amount of cases the Bureau receives, it’s best to contact a local office rather than a national office, even though national offices are made available in every state. To make a complaint with the BBB, go to http://complaint.bbb.org/

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